James Aloysius Griffin

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James Aloysius Griffin (February 27, 1883 – August 5, 1948) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Springfield in Illinois from 1924 until his death in 1948.

Biography[edit]

James Griffin was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Thomas and Catherine (née Woulfe) Griffin.[1] He attended St. Gabriel High School and St. Ignatius College in Chicago before furthering his studies in Rome at Propaganda College, from where he obtained a Ph.D. (1906) and a Doctor of Divinity (1910).[1] While in Rome, he served as secretary to Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val.[2] Griffin was ordained to the priesthood on July 4, 1909.[3] Upon his return to the United States in 1910, he served as a curate at St. James Church in Chicago until 1915, when he was transferred to St. Brendan Church.[1] He served as pastor of Assumption Church in Coal City (1917–1921) and of St. Mary Church in Joliet (1921–1924).[1]

On November 10, 1923, Griffin was appointed the fourth Bishop of Springfield by Pope Pius XI.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on February 25, 1924 from Archbishop George Mundelein, with Bishops Samuel Stritch and Edward Francis Hoban serving as co-consecrators.[3] He dedicated the new Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in 1928.[4] Griffin erected 51 new churches, schools, convents and charitable institutions; the total cost spent in his first ten years was close to $6.5 million.[5] He established Marquette Catholic High School in Alton, and Springfield College.

In 1939 he joined Bishop John Mark Gannon and Monsignor Michael Joseph Ready in a visit to Mexico to confer with Archbishop Luis Martínez on a seminary founded in Las Vegas, New Mexico, to supply priests for the Mexican Church, since seminaries were at that time illegal in that country.[6] Following the election of George D. Stoddard as president of the University of Illinois in 1945, Griffin condemned Stoddard's assertion in his book The Meaning of Intelligence that, "Man-made concepts, such as devils, witches, taboos, hellfire, original sin...and divine revelation...have distorted the intellectual processes of millions of persons."[7] Griffin said, "We want to know what we're paying for...Thousands of [Dr. Stoddard's] future students believe in the objective validity of [original sin and hell]...He will evidently try to dispossess his charges of their feeble-mindedness."[7] In response, Stoddard said he "should be much happier if the Bishop and his group read the whole book" and that, taken as a whole, it actually urged a "return to religion."[7][8]

Griffin died, aged 65. He is buried in one of five crypts of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Curtis, Georgina Pell (1947). The American Catholic Who's Who VII. Grosse Pointe, Michigan: Walter Romig. 
  2. ^ "THE MOST REVEREND JAMES A. GRIFFIN, D.D.". Dedication of Saint Gabriel Parish Hall of Fame. 
  3. ^ a b c "Bishop James Aloysius Griffin". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. 
  4. ^ "History of The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception". Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. 
  5. ^ a b Saal, Rich. "Bishop James A. Griffin is laid to rest". Behind the Curtain. 
  6. ^ "Prelates in Mufti". TIME Magazine. 1939-08-14. 
  7. ^ a b c "Heresy". TIME Magazine. 1945-10-22. 
  8. ^ "The Final Arrow". TIME Magazine. 1953-08-03. 
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
James Ryan
Bishop of Springfield in Illinois
1924—1948
Succeeded by
William Aloysius O'Connor